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7 reasons to sit speech & drama exams

The process of sitting speech & drama exams is about much more than simply gaining the next qualification on offer.

Yes, the feeling of satisfaction that students acquire along with their exam result is important. But the true benefits of sitting speech and drama exams are to be found in the intangibles that are picked up during the preparation along the journey to the exam itself.

The intangibles of increased self-confidence, development of a sense of pride in oneself, and the ability to challenge one’s own boundaries are all benefits that are built during the exam process, and that live in the student forever afterwards.

That’s why at Head Held High, we always have a big gold circle around the final months of the year. That’s the time on our calendar when our teachers and students excitedly work towards their exam pieces.

The exam process always generates a lot of conversation amongst our students and their families, particularly when it’s the first time they are taking part.

That’s why we wrote this article, to articulate some of the reasons we and our students love speech & drama exams so much.

So without further ado, please let us list what we feel are the most important...

7 reasons to sit speech & drama exams

  1. Grow self-confidence

  2. Feel a sense of self-pride

  3. Encourage teamwork and team spirit

  4. Provide an environment for students to challenge themselves

  5. Acquire life-long learning skills

  6. Test and play with newly developed skills in a low-risk setting

  7. Gain internationally recognised qualifications

Reasons #1 - 3 = The development of character and eminence

Character and eminence?! They’re big words to throw around on a little ol’ speech and drama school’s website aren’t they?! In one way, yes.

But in another way... what else are we really talking about when we’re talking about growing self-confidence, developing a sense of self-pride and also encouraging teamwork and team spirit?

Participating in speech and drama exams can stimulate all of these character-based traits.

There’s something about working steadily towards a goal (in this case, a speech and drama exam) seeing self-improvement along the way, and ticking off the final hurdle that invariably leads to more confidence in oneself. Our teachers see it every year in our incredible exam students.

And wherever self-confidence grows, self-pride is never far behind in sprouting either.

An unexpected by-product of the speech & drama exam process is team spirit. Students work on their exam pieces in the company of their peers, during weekly lessons. Some actually sit their exams in pairs or groups.

But even for those sitting individual exams, the fact that they prepare for numerous weeks in front of their classmates during our weekly lessons means that students all get to share in each others’ work, encourage each other, and enjoy the lift in spirits of working together towards their individual and shared goals.

Reasons #4 & 5 = Learning and sharpening skills

One of the highlights of this video about exams is the quote about students learning important skillsets for their everyday lives.

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for us.

Yes, helping students on their annual climb up the steps of the exam ladder is satisfying in its own right.

But when you look a little deeper into that satisfaction, it’s actually imbued with a wonder of knowing that the life-long learning skills the students display in the exam room are the very same skills that will take them places in their personal lives, their careers and their relationships.

Let’s take a look at just some of the skills students need to show their examiners when they’re sitting exams...

  • Expressing oneself with openness and individuality.

  • Sharing personal experience with enthusiasm.

  • Structuring a convincing argument.

  • Using meaningful eye contact.

  • Displaying powerful body language.

  • Being able to self-assess and evaluate self-progress.

  • Being able to show empathy for other people’s situations…

The list goes on and on, but you get the point.

While reading these exam criteria points, isn’t it interesting to keep in mind how beneficial these same skills will be as life-long companions for our students as they progress through their lives?

Reasons #6 & 7 = The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

And so far, we haven’t even mentioned the exam itself.

This video perhaps says it best. One of the highlights comes from a speech and drama exam student, who says:

“Speech and drama exams are all about expressing yourself, having lots of fun, and gaining an internationally-recognised qualification”

Every year, we hear similar comments from our students.

Exams are a fantastic opportunity for our students to apply the skills they’ve learned throughout a year of speech and drama lessons, in a low-risk setting, feeling well prepared.

And the result?

Very often (at time of writing in 2019, at Head held High we have maintained a “Distinction” grade average across 8 years of exams and thousands of students) it is a speech and drama qualification which is internationally recognised.

How’s that for a tangible result, that can be held and savoured?!

Which takes us full circle back to how we started this article…

The process of sitting speech & drama exams is about much more than simply gaining the next qualification on offer.

(But that qualification does feel good, too) The author of this article – Mark Laurence – is married to Head Held High founder Kate Laurence. He lives behind the scenes of Head Held High as its Marketing Manager, and is extremely proud that in 2019 Head Held High will enter 240 students into Trinity and Speech NZ exams.

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